Report 2016-109 Recommendation 14 Responses
Report 2016-109: Uniform Complaint Procedures: The California Department of Education's Inadequate Oversight Has Led to a Lack of Uniformity and Compliance in the Processing of Complaints and Appeals (Release Date: January 2017)
Recommendation #14 To: Los Angeles Unified School District
To minimize the number of complaints it receives through the UCP process that do not fall within the purview of UCP regulations, Los Angeles Unified should establish a mechanism that allows specified individuals for the districts to promptly discuss with complainants how best to address their issues or complaints and to determine whether their complaints fall under the purview of the UCP before they file complaints.
6-Month Agency Response
The District has and continues to develop mechanisms to proactively and informally address complainants' concerns in lieu of formal complaints under UCP.
- Completion Date: January 2017
- Response Date: July 2017
California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Fully Implemented
Los Angeles Unified provided documentation, as part of its 60-day response, to show that it has created a web page that encourages individuals to call its Educational Equity Compliance Office before filing a complaint. Although this process might take some time before it results in a reduced number of complaints filed by individuals that are deemed to be outside the purview of UCP, we believe that the actions that Los Angeles Unified has taken addresses our recommendation.
60-Day Agency Response
The District's website encourages stakeholders to call for resources/complaint options. EECO created an office email for more communication means. SEE website screenshots. The District advocates to call EECO via posters, brochures, policies and Parent Student Handbook distribution ensuring wide dissemination annually/encouraging communication. As a result, EECO provides daily phone support about complaints and redirects callers to appropriate resources. EECO trains UCP stakeholders resulting in better understanding of UCP.
EECO has partnered with Special Education in an ADR grant for compliance complaints. LAUSD is collaborating with an ADR specialist to train APs to resolve disputes proactively in all contexts.
EECO is hosting a 300 person conference. ADR, discrimination/harassment investigations and pupil fees are strands for practitioners to reduce escalation of complaints. Staff is trained in ADR/RJ/mediation for proactive resolutions.
LAUSD is implementing RJ in schools and recently considered it with parents.
EECO has refined systems for efficient intake, timelier responses and stakeholder education regarding complaint venues. Non-UCP complaints are received, but less time is spent. Previous complaint intakes occurred over two weeks versus intakes occurring in a few days now allowing investigators more time with UCPs with the bulk of time spent on investigating UCPs versus processing intakes.
CSA's audit equated Williams complaints as UCPs. Based on this and adding Williams to overall UCPs received (audit Table 3), non-UCPs are a smaller percentage of the whole than reflected in the audit. With Williams added to total complaints received during the audit scope, LAUSD received 340 non-UCPs out of 2,438 complaints received (1% non-UCPs).
- Completion Date: February 2017
- Response Date: February 2017
California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending
Los Angeles Unified's assertion that non-UCP complaints it received during the audit period represent 1 percent of all UCP complaints received does not negate the fact that it received a large number of non-UCP complaints--more than 300. Los Angeles Unified provided documentation to show that it has created a web page that encourages individuals to call its Educational Equity Compliance Office. However, considering that Los Angeles Unified implemented this new web page less than two months ago, insufficient data exists to verify its claim that refined systems for efficient intake, timelier responses, and stakeholder education regarding complaint venues has resulted in less time being spent on non-UCP complaints. We will assess the effectiveness of the steps that Los Angeles Unified has identified it has taken to implement this recommendation as part of its six-month response.
- Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation
Agency responses received are posted verbatim.